Origin: France, 18th c. 2nd half, around 1770.
Dimensions: height – 143 cm, width – 95 cm, depth – 36 cm.
Rare example of the secretaire „a doucine” transformed in 18th c. into the bookcase. Bearing several stamps on the back: “F. REIZELL”, “L.N. MALLE” and JME. Double signature in this case – probably – means that the secretaire was made by one of cabinetmakers, seconds transformed it into the bookcase. Construction of oak veneered with exotic wood. Bookcase in the style transition between Louis XV and Louis XVI. Clearly visible rococo style remains like bronze mounts and bent legs, but general shape has more straight lines than earlier, symmetry. Original grey marble plate.
JME - Jurande des Maitres Ebenistes (Masters-Cabinetmakers Commission) – founded in 1743 as a commission of the cabinetmaker’s guild, in order to regulate the current issues, selecting and examining people who want to receive the title of Master (French: Maitre) and maintaining the quality of work. JME worked mostly in Parisian area. Starting from the year 1743, commission four times per year examined all workshops, checking the quality of furniture manufacturing. If the object did not meet their criteria of quality, was confiscated and the author had to pay a penalty of 10 solds. Thanks to this feature, furniture stamped JME always maintained the highest standards.
François-Antoine REIZELL - born in Germany, but - like many German craftsmen – attracted by the highest quality of the furniture produced in the 18th c. in France, well-organized guild and trainings, he decided to make a career in Paris, where he awarded the master title (Feb. 29, 1764). Even at that time his works, particularly precision cast and chiseled bronzes and fine inlays were considered by contemporaries as outstanding. He worked primarily for the Prince Condé, performing - among others - furniture for castles Chantily and Vilgénis - with delicate floral compositions in the style of Louis XV and geometric marquetry emphasizing the form and construction.
Louis-Noel MALLE - (1734-1782), obtained the master title on Nov. 18th 1765. At the beginning of the career he was making furniture in the style of Louis XV, later transition and Louis XVI at the end. MALLE had a manufactory and a furniture store at the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris. Craftsmen and tradesmen almanac from 1772 year mentions Malle as a creator of furniture with ebony, olive wood, colored wood (so called then exotic wood these days), mother of pearl, ivory. Some examples of MALLE’s masterpieces were decorated with inlays depicting town views, romantic ruins, persons or animals. After retiring MALLE’s wife was running the company until the revolution.
Condition report: very good condition. Restored in 2014. Minimal traces of wear. Gilt bronze mounts original, re-gilt during last restoration. Later key. Later glass.
Provenance: sold at Drouot, Paris around year 2012.